By the year 1048, the young William, Duke of Normandy, soon to be known as William the Conquerer, had established control of the Duchy of Normandy, and quelled all opposition.
He asked his friend and mentor, Hugh de Montresson to approach some of the noble families of neighbouring Brittany, with the aim of expanding his power base, and gaining support for his claim to the English throne.
De Montresson sent his 12 year old daughter Genevieve, or Jennifer, to live with a powerful family in Brittany to cement the alliance.
In the year 1067, the Duke Gisebert De Ghent and his companion, Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, captured a giant black bear in a forest in Normandy. This bear reportedly had human intelligence and speech, and was very cunning in battle.
Gisebert’s godson, the English outlaw Hereward the Wake, was visiting the Duke at the time, and challenged the bear to a duel, but the bear quickly disarmed Hereward, and was permitted to escape back into the forest.
Over the years, there have been a number of reported sightings of a large black bear in the forests of northern France. One such sighting was in 1989, at a rock formation known as Merlin’s Tomb, near the village of Paimpont, in the heart of the forest of Broceliande
This is the story of Jennifer and the Bear.
Nounours is French for teddy bear.
It is pronounced NOO noose, and is
the name for all teddy bears in France.